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2D Puppet-Style Character Animation

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I have been working with C++/SDL for a little while now, but I have only attempted spritesheet-based animation in the past, like retro video games.

I am wondering if anyone has advice on how to achieve a more fluid, puppet-style animation in games. What I mean is, a skeletal bone system of some sort (Inverse Kinematics/3D-style Animation) or a simple hierarchy of layers, rotating from anchor points (Adobe After Effects/Flash). I am open to using OpenGL for rotation of sprites. I am professionally an Adobe After Effects animator, and I am very comfortable with this style of animation. IK is not really a requirement but would be nice.

I would really prefer to not have to write my own editor for this, and to use some pre-existing method.

An example of this style can be seen in Limbo, and I am sure plenty of other games. The result is a very fluid, modern look. Thank you very much of any advice!


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